DIY Rolling Crate

Each year the college where I work has a winter fest where offices make a themed baskets  and/or wreaths and then they all get raffled off. It’s one of my favorite days here (second only to the chocolate sampler party on Valentine’s Day.. mmm….). I love love love seeing the themes people come up with for baskets and even cheesier than that I love when we all line up with our tickets excited to see who wins. I don’t even care if I win, it’s just a day where everyone is happy and chatting and it’s so nice.

Last year my office decided to buy a bunch of kids costumes (discounted right after Halloween) and I built a DIY rolling wardrobe to act as our basket. This year where decided on a “Local Christmas” theme and got all sorts of locally made/sourced items, and I decided to build a rolling crate for our basket.

I sort of winged it for this one, I had an image in my head but I didn’t write down any plans or measurements. What I ended up with was:

  • 24in x 24 in sheet of plywood (maybe 1 inch thick? it’s sturdy enough to hold some weight without needed extra bracing)
  • 3 sides made of mitered 1×6 boards with an extra detail of 1×2 strapping on the bottom of each
  • cut and mitered stacked 1×2’s to mark the front

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After cutting everything down I gave each piece a light sanding, wiped them down with a damp rag, then stained them with Jacobean by Minwax (the same shade  as my open shelves). Let it all soak in and dry overnight.

I attached the strapping detail to the sides with Gorilla glue, I also used Gorilla glue to adhere the stacked 1×2’s to each other. Clamp all the glued things and let that dry overnight as well.

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My pocket kreg jig broke so I cheated a bit and each of the sides are screwed to the plywood board, but not to each other. I’m obsessed with Spax brand screws– use them. love them. buy them in bulk. Also, always pre-drill your holes so the wood doesn’t split. I used an impact driver to pre-drill and a regular power drill to screw each piece together… which is lovely, because then you don’t have to switch bits back and forth a million times.

I had 4 wheels in my stash that we didn’t end up using on a piece of furniture when we moved, so I screwed those right in to the bottom. Then I staged it around my house to take pictures for the blog and began wishing I could just keep it for myself….

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I think I may need to build 500 more. It can be a shoe bin if you throw a mat at the bottom, a bet bed if you put a big pillow in it, a plant stand (just seal it up with some poly!)….

Here it is all put together at work:

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This can be as fancy or as simple as you make it out to be- I mitered the back corners for a sleeker joint, and angled the front pieces to add some interest, but you can make all straight blunt cuts if you want to keep it basic. You could also just use 1×6 pieces for all 4 sides inside of changing it up on the front. The sky’s the limit, baby!

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Industrial Open Shelving

Open shelving is nothing revolutionary in the blog world, it’s popped up all over the place for a little over a year now- and for my 1920s cape home it fits in perfectly.

Our dining room focal wall was missing a little pizzaz, so I put up four shelves to help fill in the space a bit and I’m super in love with how it turned out.

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This could be a really inexpensive update to a home (standard brackets, 1×6 or 1×8 stained board) but I wanted a very specific look so all in all this cost me just over $100 (for 8 brackets, 2 2×6 boards, and stain). Installation was still very, very simple though.

First, I used a laser level and painters tape to mark out the shelves- and I stared at that painter’s tape for about a week to make sure it was exactly how I wanted it. I also got a little lucky because my amazing geometric mirror (from a Habitat for Humanity restore) really marked out my lines for me: the mirror is divided into quads, and each quad has a marked middle as well. My shelves line up with the middle of the quads. Boom!

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Each shelf is 28inches long, so I bought 2 10-foot 2×6’s and cut them down (with some scrap wood to spare). It was important to me that the shelves be hefty looking, but not stick out super far from the wall. I sanded each board down to slightly round all the edges, then gave them each a hefty coat of Minwax Jacobean stain. YOU GUYS. This is my new all-the-time-stain stain. It’s so rich and lovely looking without overpowering the grain of the wood. As my dear friend Emily Henderson* would say it is very, very good. (*She has no idea who I am.)

Keeping the brackets spaced out 1 inch in from the end of each board meant I didn’t have any studs to work with, so I used some very heavy duty anchors- I think each one can hold something like 75 pounds and none of these shelves is more than 15-20lbs total (brackets included). I bought these brackets from Etsy, and HIGHLY recommend the seller- quick to respond to questions and really nice quality work.

The shelves are mainly for beauty purposes, not practical use, so I understand I’m going to be dusting a lot and I fully accept that responsibility. I already have a colorful rug in the space so I wanted to keep the styling mostly clear glass and natural elements.

I bought 5 mini ferns from Amazon, and 4inch pots from Michaels, then everything else I gathered from around the house.

Wait- do you not decorate your home using a real coyote skull and brass knuckles? Weird….

The frames and champagne flutes were from our wedding, the line of glasses belonged to my great aunt, then the rest is just odds and ends.

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If you love the look, I’d love for you to pin it!

Feel free to comment with any questions🙂

Dining & Kitchen areas

The dining room in our house is easily the most “me” spot I’ve ever designed, which is strange since the adjacent kitchen is so extremely opposite of my style. They’re open to each other, and to the living room, and our master suite is right off them to round out the first floor. I, surprisingly, have loved having our bedroom right off the kitchen. Our laundry closet is in there, as well as a full bath, and for a two person household it is perfect.

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I just got this zinc trestle dining table from Overstock and it is perfection- it’s 135 pounds and seats 6 (you could squeeze in 8) and just fills the space perfectly. It could dress up to be fancy and banquet-y, or it can dress down to be really industrial and cool (literally, the top is cool to the touch). Also, apparently zinc is a live metal so if it gets scratches or light stains it’ll just heal itself up over time. Fascinating!

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The Eiffel shell chairs are from our last house, and the two end swivel chairs are from my Nana’s house (purchased late 60s/early 70s). Originally I was thinking I wanted to recover the swivel chairs in a deep navy tweed, but the yellow has really grown on me. What do you think?

The rug is from The Novogratz and I’m obsessed with it, and I’m hoping I’ll find a good black Friday online sale for an 8×10 sisal to layer under it. Originally there was a boob light over the table so I swapped it out for this hanging lantern style one and the brushed brass is so lovely. You guys- it’s super easy to swap out a light. Do it. Also, the Edison bulb casts a nice yellow glow that I really like in a kitchen/dining spot (but wouldn’t like in say, a living room or bedroom where you may want a clear white light to read).

The mirror is from the Habitat Restore, it was in my last house as well, and I’m so glad I found a spot for it here. It’s one of my favorite pieces. I’m thinking of adding 2 floating wood shelves to either side of it but can’t decide if that would feel too crowded. I need opinions on this too!

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The swing shelf is from my previous house as well, and it’s the perfect thing to keep my plants safely away from our cats. The painting was done by my Nana and I love that it brings a bit of fall in to the house all year round. Originally the frame was plain wood but I wanted to tie in the molding and doors a bit better so I painted it white.

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As for the kitchen- yes, yes, I know. It’s beautiful. Granite counters and french country cream cabinets and everything is brand new and fresh…

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However, it couldn’t be farther from my taste and I dream of the day I can reface the cabinets with white uppers, navy lowers, and swap in a marble-esque quartz or soapstone counter.

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I replaced the pendant light in here too, to match the dining one. It’s really the only spot in the kitchen that is available to customize so I just had to.

So that’s where we’re at in this spot– about 80% done, just need to bargain hunt for a larger rug to layer and  decide on floating shelves and chair fabric.

Also, don’t be fooled by the skulls and mummy planter… my house is not currently decorated for Halloween.😉 I dig a little macabre in my design.

 

Vintage Trunk turned Coffee Table

For the past month my Nana (and her kids) have been purging, donating, throwing out, and purging some more because she recently downsized from a two family home to an apartment. I have acquired a lot of treasures during this process, and lucky for me literally no one else wants the things I do.🙂 Perks of being a fixer upper kind of gal I guess?

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Among the treasures was this trunk from the 1920s, which was buried so deep in my grandmother’s basement I had no idea it existed until about two weeks ago. I hauled it back from her house and spent a little over an hour cleaning it with white vinegar (all over) and Bar Keeper’s friend (on the brass and copper). The white vinegar is gentle enough to clean and remove stains, but not damage the almost 100 year old piece. The BKF cleaned and shined the fixtures. Then I got a toothbrush to scrub the whole thing to make sure all the residue from the cleaner was removed.

After all that was done and dried, the piece itself felt really dehydrated. I waxed all the wooden strapping and after asking around I think I’m going to try and find some saddle soap for the leather.

These are all cell phone pictures, so please excuse the poor quality, but here’s how it’s looking in my living room now…

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I know, I know– you wish you had a sectional covered with sheets and a giant cat tree in your living room too. It’s the latest in home decor. (We have 3 cats and 2 dogs…)

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It’s a little small for the space, but now that it’s been there a few days I don’t really mind- it gives the dogs rooms to easily move around it and doesn’t overpower the already smallish space.

Someday I’ll figure how on earth to photograph this room so that the windows aren’t blown out, and the furniture isn’t so dark looking. But in the meantime, I’m going to drink some tea on that couch and snuggle a pup.🙂

Console Table Redo & Living Room Update

This new house has been a real interesting test for my style- it was built in 1920, but completely gutted and redone within the past year. Every room in the house is gray (which I love) and the floors are all brown toned (which I also love). The house calls out for wood, so I’m trying to strike a balance between answering that call but also mixing in whites and metals and some funk.

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Our living room has the sectional from our previous home’s den and at first I wasn’t a huge fan of having such an informal piece of furniture in such a visible spot in the house, but we’ve already used this room SO MUCH more than the living room in our last house because it just feels more welcoming and flop-on-the-couch-able.

It looks a little cluttered and over-layered but it alls serves to protect from our 3 cats.  All 3 blankets (2 on the chairs, 1 on the couch) are positioned to prevent cat scratches on the backs/sides of furniture , and the cat tree is an unfortunate must as well. A better blogger may have staged more, but this is real life so this is what you see.

We have this console table from our old house that I really wanted to make work for this room too, but the reddish stain color was just not working and it had some deep scratches from some rude puppy paws. Perfect opportunity to try out a few new products!

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I used Citristrip and a hand sander to get this piece down to it’s natural wood tones. The Citristrip was… ok. I put one layer of it on, let it sit for an hour, and then scraped. This worked to get off the protective coat and some stain. I then put another layer of it on, let it sit for two more hours, then scraped, and it got off a bit more stain. I think it’d be more effective getting off paint than stain so I’m going to give it a try on another project before I fully decide how I feel about it.

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After round 2 with the gel I decided to just speed things up and grab my hand sander to finish the job. I got about 75% done sanding it and just…stopped. It looks really deconstructed and cool and it fits with the other two pieces of wood in the room so I decided to seal it up and leave it!

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I used two coats of Country Chic Tough Coat to protect this piece and it worked great- it dried super, super fast and without any bubbles so I didn’t have to sand again afterwards.

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Full disclosure: they did send me the product free to try, but I am under no obligation to write about it or give a positive review. I did genuinely love this product and will be using it again!

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On the other side of that partial wall is the kitchen (to the left) and the dining area (to the right, where the sliding doors are) so this is a nice transitional piece to fill that wall and add some storage (tablecloths, etc).

Overall, this space is really coming along and I’m tweaking it a bit every day.

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Plans and Goings On

Hi all! Things have unintentionally slowed down quite a bit here on the ol’ blog, but honestly we’re just enjoying our home and taking some time settling in.  I’m trying to take on a new vibe in this house. We’re here for the long haul, and it’s lovely as is, so I just want to be settled and happy and not constantly working on 900 projects even though I’m constantly thinking about 900 projects.

I do currently have one furniture redo underway, and I shared a peek of it on Instagram a few days ago. I used Citristrip to get off the sealer and cherry tinted stain and was about halfway through sanding it and sort of fell in love– I think I’m just going to clean up the legs a bit and then seal ‘er up and call it done. What do you think?

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I also recently ordered this ah-mazing rug for our dining area. I’ve been creeping the Facebook page for this duo (The Novogratz) for months waiting for the pre-order and then I pounced! It arrives mid/late October and I’m already beyond obsessed with it. I love all things skull-y and I’m also trying really hard to incorporate color in to this house so this is obviously the most perfect rug ever made just for me with me in mind.

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My parents also offered to help us get a new dining table as a housewarming gift and at first I was like noooo I’m going to redo the one we have! I want projects! And it’s perfectly fine! Waste not want not! But then I discovered that zinc tables are a thing and now I can’t stop thinking about this one even though I’m pretty sure that’s an awful lot to spend on a table and it’s also like 150 pounds which seems insane but also super cool and unique and interesting. But the heart wants what the heart wants, amiright? Also, skull rug and zinc table? It’d be amazing.

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ANYWHO. We’ve got just about every box unpacked and I’m slowly slowly slowly starting to hang things on the walls. This house has such a different layout than our previous one, but I love all our framed art so much so I’m trying to find spots for everything that don’t appear cluttered or mismatched.

So. Next week I hope to be back with a write up on how I stripped that console table and what products I used to seal it up. And then I’m thinking maybe Halloween house tour video? Because even if I don’t get around to unpacking the boxes I sorttttt of keep Halloween decorations out year round anyway. (IE: SKULL RUG!) So I’ll be back with you soon! Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Custom Master Closet

This is BY FAR the most exciting house related thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on- a custom master closet!

Our new house doesn’t have a ton of storage in it, so we really wanted to maximize the master closet. At first glance it seems pretty big, but it’s a rectangle shape so it’s hard to organize and figure out hanging rods. The back wall is about 47 inches long and the 2 usable sides are about 63 inches long each. The height is about 110 inches.

So… I decided to follow Donna’s advice and treat myself.

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 I took all sorts of measurements, hopped in the car, and drove an hour to our nearest Container Store. The process was so easy– I brought in the measurements, I walked around the display closets with a sales associate and learned about options, and then she took about 45 min-1 hour to put together a design for me. I went with the elfa system, which is fantastic and literally what all my dreams are made of.

The sales associate both printed and emailed me the blueprints so I could take them home and look at it all in the space, then I emailed her some small changes and she re-rendered it for me. Here’s the original sketch rendering (they provide you with a blueprint style outline as well):

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I opted to assemble the closet myself, and it took about four hours but once I got the hang of it, it was super easy. The time consuming part is spacing everything out in a way that works best for us, our  height, and our personal preferences. 

I don’t know why I was surprised by this, seeing as I bought the system from an organizational store, but the assembly instructions were SO GOOD. I had printed instructions, emailed instructions, then a customized video walk through based on what I ordered. Amazing.

The ride side is one metal strip anchored vertically to the wall with baskets hooked in. The left and back sides are are each one metal strip anchored horizontally to the wall and then everything else hangs off of it. It’s crazy sturdy! Also, because I chose to self install, they gave me a ton of wall anchors and a ton of wood screws since I didn’t know which I’d end up needing until I started drilling.

This closet is for my husband and I to split…which is a challenge because I could totally fill it all myself. But look how pretttttyyyy…..

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The right side is for his ties/bowties/socks and also my flip flops and ballet flats. The left side is all mine and from top to bottom I’ve got duffel and beach bags, purses, works shirts/cardigans (hanging), a shelf for clutches, dress pants (drawer 1), regular pants (drawer 2), two rows of heel storage, and the floor for wedges. There’s also a valet rod (for steaming) and hooks on the side (for belts).

We are splitting the back wall. The left side is for my wedding dress (folded up top) long sleeve shirts, suit jackets and hoodies, then dresses and skirts hanging. Not pictured in this rendering, but I also added a wire basket all the way at the bottom to hold scarves. The right side is all for m husband- tshirts, dress shirts, dress pants, hoodies, etc.

Each shelf is about 90inches up off the floor, so I’ll need to get a small step stool in here. However, we tried to arrange it based on usage and season so things can move around pretty easily.

This was NOT cheap- I bought it during a 25% off sale and it ran just about $950 for the whole thing. However, it’s so pretty I want to cry actual tears whenever I open my closet door and also it’s insanely good quality. The whole thing is a wire and bracket system- but the finishing touches are what make it look so high end. Each of the brackets has a seamless plastic cover, each of the shelves has a wooden birch front panel and also a frosted plastic mat to lay down on it, everything is perfectly matched, and there’s even a cover for the track at the top so you can’t see any screws.

It’s all filled up now and a bit harder to photograph, also I have a large clothes hoarding problem so holy cow is it jam packed, but it fits way more than expected and if I could marry it I would.  :)